“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter.” Lewis Carroll
Well, that would depend on what you are looking for, not just where, would it not?
When we first encounter people coming to us for healing or to learn how to connect with a Power Animal the one question that is on their minds more than anything is ‘Where am I going, and how do I get there?’
As with the first question the Cheshire Cat asked Alice, knowing where you want to go is really the key to it all.
First though, you must know and understand there is a ‘where’ to ‘go to’.
We work mainly in three worlds. Upper, Middle and Lower. They all have their particular attributes and we choose to go to each of them for a particular reason. Our compass points are slightly different but in this space still the same.
We call in the Powers to make a ‘spiritual space’ for us to work within. So we call in North, South, East & West. ‘Call in’ is addressing each direction as a space that holds it’s own attributes. There are of course different ways that people will do this depending on where they were taught, live in this world etc.
I call in the element, for example Earth, and an attribute, say Reason and an Animal or entity, like in the East I would ask the Zephyrs (wind spirits) to come and blow away the cobwebs and breathe inspiration into the work we are doing. In the West I would call in the Undines (water sprites) and because he is one of my most powerful allies Each-Uisge the Water Horse, (also one of my favourite tales to tell – Moraig & The Water Horse).
It very much depends on the work we are doing, if it is specific for healing or if it is for teaching. Each World, each direction all has its part to play in the making of the whole.
Then each of the Worlds is addressed and the elementals and attributes of those are also called to aid in the work at hand.
This builds powerful energy and there is a set way of bringing this circle into being and to releasing it afterwards.
It’s not about anything religious, it’s about energy, it’s about focus. The compass points of where you want to be. It gives signposts for the Universal Mind and Spirit to be following. Also it can be done at any time, any where really.
Then when we have them all in situ, we get ourselves ready to go to the appropriate world for what we are seeking.
One of the iconic images for Shamanic work is the tree. The tree is a super highway to all three worlds.
The uppermost branches are the Upper World, the branches that stretch out to either side can be a vehicle to the Middle World and the roots well, of course, the Lower World. though a Rabbit Hole would do just as nicely…
Most time the Seeker (this is what I call clients who come for healing, journeying etc) really doesn’t have to know initially where to be going as that is the Shaman’s remit, to go find answers in the right place. There are of course some situations where the Seeker is taught to journey to a specific place with a Power Animal they have been gifted by Spirit for this purpose. This might be a Power Animal that will be with them for some time or they could be just for that specific journey.
One of the best places to journey is in Nature, beside a favourite tree or river. This of course is also a brilliant place to make ceremony and give gratitude for the water, the land and all that is on it, in it and of it. Tengri the Sky Spirit of Mongolia but really just saying thank you to the sky and all that it is and all it provides is good.
A great gift to give is to meditate in nature. Journeying Shamanically and meditation are very different. Meditation is inwardly directed – you are becoming part of the space you are in, recognising your place in the Universe. Journeying is what is known as an ‘ecstatic trance’ you leave the body. You ride the Wind Horse – the drumbeat to whichever of the three worlds you have been guided to.
So yes, we really need to have a handle on where we are going in order to get where we need to be. If we dilly dally we could end up stuck at a crossroads, asking a big grinning cat for directions and getting some very vague and esoteric directions.
For me though Robert Frost is the best direction The Road Not Taken but that…. that is another story.